On December 11, on the 25th Sunday after Pentecost, the Rector of St. George Church, Archpriest Igor Tarasov served the Divine Liturgy in our temple. After the Gospel lesson he preached a homily in Russian.
In his homily the Rector pointed out that after frequent reading of the Holy Gospel we may learn that the main Commandment of Christ is the Commandment of love. The very coming of Christ into this world was a manifestation of God’s love. This is why Jesus performed different miracles of healing. One of them is described in today’s Gospel lesson (Lk. 13, 10-17). Our Lord healed a woman who had a spirit of infirmity and was bent over for 18 years. But that healing provoked an improper reaction from a ruler of the synagogue because Jesus performed a healing on the Sabbath. That person forgot that Sabbath was the Lord’s day, thus it should be dedicated to the works in honor of the Lord, to the works of love. We should remember that when we find different excuses not to help our neighbors.
The Rector also stressed that the sick woman is an image of our sinful soul. Our souls are also bent over by sin and they cannot see the heights of heaven. In the Church language, heaven means the God’s dwelling, an invisible world. Our souls in sin cannot see God, but can only see the ground beneath our feet, the earth. And the earth means this material world which contains good things, as well as evil things, it contains sin. Such is the state of our souls. But we should not fall into despair. The same Jesus Christ who healed the woman who had been bent over, can heal our souls if we desire so. In order to be healed we need to be with the Church, in a gathering of the faithful. In today’s Gospel story the sick woman encountered Jesus in the synagogue, in a place of gathering of the believers. And we also encounter God in the temple. And if that sick woman met Jesus once in her life, we meet the Lord every time in our Christian temples. We meet Him in a mystical, but also a very efficient way.
After the dismissal of the Liturgy the Rector preached a short sermon in English to address the main thoughts of his Russian homily.